Archive for the ‘tourism’ Category

MY KOVALAM MY RESPONSIBILITY

The Program My Kovalam My Responsibility was held on May 29th 2019 at

Uday Samudra Beach Hotel ,Kovalam, The program was initiated by UDS group of hotels in association with travel & tourism organizations of the state, Kovalam being one of the best beach destinations in the world and it is part of one of the major tourist attractions in the state providing  world class facilities and services.

The program is continuation of the Responsible Tourism Program launched last year. This year was the second edition where Hospitality Service providers and traders from Kovalam attended the event an awareness speech was given by Suresh John Corporate Director Somatheeram Heath Group on how to be a Best Friendly Destination was part of the event.

 Prior to this event a committee was formed on respective areas to select Best Service Providers for 2018-19 in Tourism such as   Auto & Taxi drivers, Beach Housekeeper, life guard, and Tourism police personnel. And also part of the Village Responsible Tourism the traditional community such as Handloom, Coir making, Pottery unit’s production of traditional raw materials and those who have worked exclusively in various activities in tourism sector were honored at this event.

The event was well attended by Adv.M.Vincent, MLA, Nissa Beevi, Harbor Ward Councilor, Anish Kumar & V.Sreekumara Menon Executive Member ATTOI, Raja Gopaal Iyer CEo, UDS Hotesl, Rajasekharan Nair CMD UDS Group and other members from hotel industry were present at the event. The organizers said this was part of the consciousness of the importance of Kovalam in the tourism map and the acceleration of activities to enhance the tourism sector in the destination.

The event also witnessed the launching of 45th Vellayani Boat Race Logo & the website and also a travel book was released on this occasion called Discover Trivandrum Beyond Beaches to promote village tourism and places of interest which is not much explored by the foreign & domestic tourists.

In connection to this event NGO organizations like SISP (Sebastian Indian Social Projects), Kovalam , Kanthari International Institute, Vellayyani  was honored for their contribution for the development of Local community & Social initiatives. L. Sumarajan Former President Vellayyani Boat Race received the lifetime achievement award from Rajasekharan Nair CMD UDS Group for his contribution and dedication to the Vellayani Annul Boat Race which is conducted every year during Onam festival.

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Kerala Tourism website gets all-time high traffic in 2018–19

Three major campaigns launched by Kerala Tourism, including the one on blooming of Neelakurunji flower, and the Clint Memorial International Painting Competition, helped Kerala Tourism’s website -- www.keralatourism.org – get an all-time high traffic in 2018-19, with the portal receiving  10,252,887 visits/sessions from 71,32,491 users.

This stood in sharp contrast to the year 2017-18 (April 1, 2017-March 31, 2018) when the website could muster only 41, 02, 061 sessions or visits from 31,61,986 users. Also, the traffic for the website came from 19,140 cities during 2018-19 as compared to 14,219 cities a year earlier. Besides Neelakurinji campaign launched during the once-in-12-year blooming of Neelakurinji flowers and the Clint Memorial International Painting Competition, the third was an innovative post-flood campaign in 20 Indian cities and 20 cities from abroad. The cities were selected on the basis of traffic from those places to the website.  

Campaign materials were produced in 23 languages and these included both Indian and foreign languages. However, it was the Clint Memorial International Painting Competition that turned out to be the most effective of the three campaigns, which was targeted at children with the objective of taking the name ‘Kerala’ to five million homes around the world. This particular campaign fetched 48,390 registrations from 134 countries and 38,000 entries from 97 countries.  In fact, the most viewed page in the website this year was that of Clint’s in the website. The landing pages of Neelakurinji and Ayurveda stood at the second and third place, respectively.

Tourism Minister Shri Kadakampally Surendran said the launch of the three well-crafted campaigns during 2018-19 made this achievement possible for Kerala Tourism’s website. “We are living in a techno-savvy age, and it is imperative to pack the tourism portal with interesting details that can engage tourists on a sustained basis. I am happy that Kerala Tourism’s website has been making huge strides in terms of popularity from visitors from across the world.” Tourism Secretary Smt Rani George said the huge increase in the website’s traffic is a robust proof of recognition for Kerala Tourism not just from India but also from various parts of the globe. "We are constantly launching new products to help spread the uniqueness of the state as a tourism destination across all segments of the population spread across various geographies.”  Tourism Director Shri P Bala Kiran said an analysis of the visits/sessions on the website revealed that people were interested in exploring sections like micro sites on Christianity, Festivals, Ecotourism, Responsible Tourism and Padayani, a traditional folk dance and a ritual art.  Another noticeable trend is that around 80 per cent of the users used mobile phones to access the site as compared to 60 per cent during 2017-18.

With more than 10 million visits, www.keralaltourism.org has maintained its first position among government tourism sites in India, including the Central government’s www.incredibleindia.org. Kerala Tourism’s portal now competes with the tourism websites of countries like Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Korea, and Australia for higher ranking. It stands at the 7th position among tourism board sites of various countries of the Middle East and Asia- Pacific.

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Kochi Receives Season's First Cruise Ship

MV Boudicca arrives in Kochi with 506 international tourists

Packed with international tourists, MV Boudicca, the Bahamas-based luxury cruise ship, berthed at the Kochi port early Sunday morning, signalling the onset of the cruise season in Kerala.

MV Boudicca, a 1973-built cruise vessel, belongs to Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, a UK-based, Norwegian-owned cruise shipping line. The cruise ship, with 506 international tourists and 389 crew members on board, touched the Kochi port at 0630 hrs.

The luxurious ship, which began its journey from Abu Dhabi, UAE, on October 4, docked at the Mumbai port prior to its arrival in Goa where it berthed for a night. From Goa, it sailed to the Kochi port.

Officials of the Tourism Department were present at the cruise berth terminal to give a warm ceremonial welcome in a traditional style.

“The arrival of the first cruise ship marks the beginning of the cruise season in Kerala. It will provide a boost to the state’s efforts to attract more foreign and domestic tourists after the recent floods. It also sends out a message to the tourists from far and wide that Kerala’s waters are absolutely safe,” said Mrs. Rani George, Secretary, Department of Tourism.

“The tourists’ inflow has already started and the arrival of the first cruise vessel will give a good start for the cruise season. We are expecting the arrival of more cruise ships in the coming days,” said Mr. P Bala Kiran, Director, Department of Tourism.

The tourists will visit different destinations in the state, including Fort Kochi, Mattancherry and Alappuzha, before leaving for Vizhinjam port on Monday.

MV Boudicca will depart from the Kochi port on Monday by 7 pm and would reach Vizhinjam port next day around 8 am. From Vizhinjam, the group will set off for Colombo in the evening

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Kerala to welcome this season's first chartered flight from Australia after floods

Tourism Department to hold ceremonious welcome

Giving out a strong message that Kerala Tourism is springing back into action after the recent floods, this season’s first chartered flight from Australia will arrive in Kochi on Saturday (Sept 15) with the Tourism Department all set to accord a warm and ceremonious welcome to the visitors.

The chartered flight, with 60 tourists on board, will head from Australia and will touch the Nedumbassery International Airport in Kochi at 6 pm. The international visitors will be welcomed at the airport through a reception that would include Panchavadyam and Kathakali Pacha Vesham.

Mr. P Bala Kiran, Director, Department of Tourism, said the arrival of the chartered flight consisting mostly tourists from Australia would send out a definitive message that the tourism sector in Kerala is all geared up to welcome the visitors. “It will also help remove the perception that the influx of tourists is dwindling in the state,” he added.

The passengers belong to a tourist group in Australia named ‘Captain Group’. The chartered flight has been arranged by Divine Voyages Pvt Ltd.

Kerala Tourism has been resiliently working towards promoting the state as an overall tourism destination, said Mrs. Rani George, Secretary, Department of Tourism. “At this point, Kerala Tourism needs a lot of backing up to tell the world that the tourism industry is still going strong. And the arrival of this season’s first chartered flight will certainly send out that message,” she noted.

On Sunday, a day after their arrival, the tourists will visit Fort Kochi and Mattanchery, the two prominent tourist destinations in Kochi. Then, 20 tourists will head to a private farm near Angamali for a cooking demo class showing Kerala cuisines. On Monday, the tourists will make a trip to Allapuzha to have a unique houseboat experience cruising in the backwaters.

They will departure on Tuesday to Goa and the group will also visit Udaipur, Jodhpur, Varanasi and Kolkata before going back

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Vynn Capital Partners with the World Tourism Organization to Boost Asia's Tourism Sector

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – 9 August 2018 – Vynn Capital, a South-East Asia-based early-stage venture capital firm, and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) today jointly announced a strategic partnership to promote South-East Asia’s tourism sector by facilitating entrepreneurship and innovation.

Through this strategic partnership, Vynn Capital and UNWTO will collaborate to create a framework and policies to support technology startups that are addressing opportunities and challenges in the region’s tourism sector. Both parties will work together to encourage traditional industry players such as hotel groups, property groups and food companies to adopt digital strategies, as well as to encourage more investment by the private sector into technology companies. Vynn Capital will act as UNWTO’s partner on initiatives to achieve these goals, by supporting tourism entrepreneurs and traditional industry players as the tourism market embraces technology and innovation.

“The tourism sector represents a huge opportunity for South-East Asia, where we see the emergence of a strong middle class. Vynn Capital has identified tourism as a key investment space and we will continue to work with entrepreneurs and industry players to promote the region’s tourism sector. We believe technology companies that focus on the mobility of consumers, such as Indonesia’s Travelio and Carsome, who already has operations in four key countries in South-East Asia, will continue to champion the economic impact of tourism growth. We join hands with UNWTO to foster a new generation of innovative tourism companies in South-East Asia,” said Victor Chua, Founding and Managing Partner of Vynn Capital and Chairman of the Malaysia Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (MVCA).

“UNWTO is proud to partner with Vynn Capital, who will help us to create real solutions for the much-needed digital transformation of tourism. Such partnerships are key to continue generating opportunities all through tourism, and prove that venture capital has a role to play when we want to advance sustainable development,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.

According to UNWTO, international arrivals have increased in all regions since the start of 2018, continuing the strong trend of previous years. The strong growth is led by Asia and the Pacific (+8%), especially South-East Asia (+10%) and South Asia (+9%) where growth has already surpassed that of 2017 when Asia saw a 6% increase in international arrivals. This is significant, considering that Asia and the Pacific represents around 29% of international tourism receipts.

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Malabar to be main theme of Kerala Travel Mart 2018

The promotion of Malabar Tourism will be the focal theme of the upcoming 10th edition of Kerala Travel Mart (KTM), which will be a platform for extensive business-to-business meetings and chalking out measures to make the money-spinning tourism sector of the state a sustainable enterprise.

India’s largest tourism event, the four-day KTM will be inaugurated by Chief Minister Shri. Pinarayi Vijayan on September 27 at 6pm at Grand Hyatt, Bolgatty, Kochi, coinciding with World Tourism Day.

Being organised by KTM Society in partnership with Kerala Tourism, the event will conduct its business-to-business meetings at Samudrika and Sagara Convention Centre, Willingdon Island, Kochi, from September 28 to 30.

It will offer a spectrum of opportunities to key players in the sector to forge business linkages and spur the growth of entire tourism industry. Experts will participate in four seminars as part of the event.

Announcing the details of the KTM 2018 at a press conference , Kerala Tourism Minister Shri Kadakampally Surendran said the opening of Kannur airport this year would  give a boost to  tourism in the Malabar region in north Kerala.

“With the inauguration of Kannur airport this year, the influx of tourists to Malabar region will increase. The implementation of the Malabar River Cruise project, covering nine rivers, has already begun. The government has sanctioned Rs 53.5 crore for this scheme in the first phase,” Shri  Surendran said.

He exuded confidence that the first phase of the river cruise project would be completed soon.

“Representatives from 73 countries will be attending the upcoming edition of the KTM. This will be the highest participation from abroad in the history of the KTM,” the Minister added.

He also noted that 350 international buyers and 890 domestic buyers have confirmed their participation.

Baby Mathew Somatheeram, President KTM, said the 10th edition of the event will have 320 sellers compared to 261 last year. “Around 411 booths will be set up at the venue. There will be a Kerala tour for 50 foreign mediapersons prior to the KTM,” he informed.

Mrs. Rani George, Secretary, Tourism Department, said the most striking  feature  of the KTM is that the event is a collaboration between the state government and tourism trade. “Tourism industry people, including hoteliers and tour operators and Kerala Tourism join hands for this big event. Kerala Tourism wants more investors to come to Malabar region,” she added.

Mr  Balakiran, Director, Tourism; Mrs. Mrunmayi Joshi, Additional Director, Tourism; Mr Rahul R, MD, KTDC; Mr  Jose Pradeep, Secretary, KTM; Mr. Gopinath, Treasurer, KTM; Mr. E.M. Najeeb, Senior Vice President, IATO; and Mr. Abraham George, Former President, KTM were also present on the occasion.

This year, there will be more participation of international buyers from USA, Russia and its neighbouring countries.

The stalls at the exhibition of KTM will feature an array of products, packages and services offered by businesses and entrepreneurs. The event will be an ideal avenue for buyers and sellers to expand their business territories and attract potential buyers.

The pre-registration for India’s flagship travel and tourism event will close on July 28.

Public Private Partnership (PPP) being the main highlight of KTM, it offers a platform for stakeholders, including tour operators, hotels, resorts, home stays, houseboats, Ayurveda resorts and cultural art centres to have fruitful meetings and interactions with buyers from around the world.

The Society had adopted a comprehensive nine-point charter, ‘Agenda 9’, during KTM 2016, which called for measures to tackle waste management, promote organic farming, efficient use of energy and extensive use of local produce and products. Other key areas in the checklist are rainwater harvesting, reducing the use of plastics, and improving greenery.

This 2018 edition of KTM will focus on the Charter’s implementation aiming to make Kerala a sustainable destination. It will also exhibit new Kerala products to the world and sellers can take part in hundreds of productive business meets. This will be an ideal platform to bring various buyers under one roof.

Eurasia Beauty Queen Yana Filippova has accepted the KTM’s invitation to become the Goodwill Ambassador for Russia as part of strengthening the partnership between the two countries in the tourism sector.

This is in continuation of the summit meeting between the Indian Prime Minister and the Russian Federation President last year to celebrate 2018 as the Year of Tourism in India and Russia

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Koyikkal Palace Museum opened for public post refurbishment

Koyikkal Palace, an architectural marvel situated at Nedumangad about 18 km from Kerala capital with a numismatic and folklore museum housed in it, was opened for public today after remaining closed for four years for renovation.

Built in the traditional Kerala ‘nalukettu’ style, the two-storey structure with sloping gabled roofs and spacious rooms laid out around an open central courtyard, the mansion was built for regent queen Umayamma Rani of Venad royal family in 17th century.

The palace has also been a tourist attraction of south Kerala since the state Archaeology Department took over its upkeep in 1980.

Minister for Archaeology and Archives, Shri Ramachandran Kadannappally, who opened the renovated palace and museum, announced that the State Government has given administrative sanction for Rs 66 lakh for the second phase of renovation of the Palace.

“Heritage museums are the symbols of the bygone era and the young generation should show interest in learning about the cultural heritage of the country,” the Minister said in his address.

He also released a brochure on the Palace Museum by handing over its first copy Shri Chettachal Sahadevan, Chairman, Nedumangad Municipal Corporation.

Presiding  over the function, Shri C. Divakaran, MLA, noted that the palace needed a proper security system as the museum has rare ancient coins and priceless folklore objects.

He also suggested setting up a research centre at the palace to enable scholars from all over the world to come and study the heritage of the region.J. Rejikumar, Director, Archaeology Department welcomed the gathering.

A report on the renovation presented on the occasion noted that though the state had submitted an estimate of  Rs five crore to the Centre for the  project, the entire amount was not sanctioned and the state had to provide  Rs 3. 49 crore for the work in 2013.  Of this, Rs 2, 250, 0000 had already been spent so far.

The Archaeology Department is yet to get the second installment of the Central fund, he said.

The heritage museum has been functioning at the Palace since 1992.

The gallery consists of rarest coins used in various civilizations, including the ancient Rome, throwing light into the maritime and mercantile ties of the region with the outside world

The museum is also a treasure house of folklore fripperies; ancient domestic equipment; traditional and quaint music instruments, weapons and a wide range of other objects of antiquity.

 The renovation was conducted by Keralam- Museum of History and Heritage, the nodal agency of the state Government for such works.

Dr.  A. Sampath MP; Palode Ravi, former Deputy Speaker; Mr. R. Chandran Pillai, Executive Director, Kerala Museum; Mrs. Lekha Vikraman, Vice-Chairperson, Corporation, Nedumangad;   Mr. Harikesan Nair, Chairman, Health Affairs Standing Committee; Mr. R. Madhu, Chairman, Development Affairs Standing Committee; Mr. T.R. Suresh Kumar, Chairman, Education Affairs Standing Committee; Mrs. K. Geetha Kumari, Chairperson, Public Works Standing Committee; Mrs. Rahiyanath Beevi, Chairperson, Welfare Affairs Standing Committee; Mrs. K. Geetha, Additional Secretary, Cultural Affairs Department; Mr. T.K. Karunadas, Executive Director,  Vaasthu Vidya Gurukulam, Aranmula; Mr. K. Gangadharan, Director, Museum, Zoo Department; and Mr. P. Biju, Director, Archives Department among others were present.

Mr. R. Rajesh Kumar, Curator, Archaeology Department, proposed a vote of thanks.

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Facebook ranks Kerala Tourism Page as the Best FB page in 2017

In line with its proactive efforts in the social media space, Kerala Tourism’s Facebook page has trumped other state tourism boards by climbing on to the top slot. The Kerala Tourism Facebook page attained first place in a ranking done by Facebook based on total engagement with tourists that included reactions, shares and comments on the page between the January 1 and December 31, 2017 time frame.

The Kerala Tourism page pushed the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department’s Facebook page to the second place. The Kerala Tourism Facebook page had garnered 1.5 million likes to emerge as the top page. The Gujarat Tourism Facebook page was ranked third.

Facebook recently released the data on the top-ranked Facebook pages of government bodies, ministries and political parties in India. Mr. P Bala Kiran, Director, Kerala Tourism, has received the award at Facebook office, New Delhi from Mr Nitin Saluja, Public Policy Manager (India, South and Central Asia) today morning.

Shri. KadakampallySurendran, Honorable Minister for Co-Operation, Tourism and Devaswom, Government of Kerala has congratulated the entire team for this huge achievement.

Speaking on the achievement, Smt Rani George IAS, Secretary, Department of Tourism, Kerala, said, “Kerala Tourism has been able to successfully convey the reasons as to why Kerala is a destination that should be on every traveller’s itinerary. The department’s presence on social media has taken this message across to millions across the world, and the new laurel from Facebook is indeed heartening.”

Sri P Balakiran IAS, Director, Kerala Tourism said: “Kerala Tourism’s activity on Facebook and other social media space has been focussed and proactive. The page has been able to keep travellers from India and abroad engaged with interesting and innovative posts on the various projects and activities undertaken by the department. The ranking comes at a time when Kerala Tourism has upped the Digital marketing budget to 15% and been communicating to the people across the globe in exciting ways.”

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Kochi gets largest convention center in India

UAE based retail conglomerate, Lulu Group International launched its mega project in Kochi. Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minister of Kerala officially inaugurated the Lulu Bolgatty International Convention Center & Grand Hyatt in the presence of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, UAE Minister for Tolerance, HH Sheikh Nahyan Mubarak Al Nahyan, Bahrain Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Khalid Bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, Yusuffali MA, chairman of Lulu group along with ambassadors of UAE, KSA & Bahrain and other dignitaries.

The Rs. 1,800 crore mega project is part of its Rs. 13,000 cr. expansion plan in India in the retail, hospitality & food processing sectors.

Lulu Bolgatty International Convention Centre is billed as largest of its kind in India with over 10 lakh sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor space including two customizable and column-free venues with a total capacity of around 10,000 people. LIWA, is the largest hall in the convention center with 20,000 sq. ft. and can take more than 5,000 people at a time. It has also got a unique automated re-tractable seating system, which is first of its kind in the country.

Speaking at the glittering function Sheikh Nahyan highlighted the historic and vital role played by Indians especially Keralites, in the development of UAE and fondly recalled “Lulu, as where the UAE goes to shop”. Being the minister for tolerance , I am deeply touched by the hospitality, education and ever smiling spirit of Keralites”.

Bahrain Deputy PM hailed the long & strong relationship between India and Bahrain, and appreciated the role played by people like Yusuffali in further strengthening the economic & cultural aspects of Bahrain.”

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said “Kerala is a tourist hub and we need many more projects like this to boost our economy, and Kerala will always will welcome any investment in these sectors”

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said “the Govt. is pro-development and is working tirelessly to develop the infrastructure and road network across India and I invite investors to exploit the abundant possibilities available here.”

The convention centre has 3 helipads and parking capacity for more than 1500 cars. With a prime waterfront location, the convention centre is a 45-minute drive from Cochin International Airport and is connected to all major road networks.

Speaking on the occasion of inauguration of the new project Yusuffali MA said “this is my dream project in Kerala and I am sure this will go a long way in making Kochi & Kerala the tourist and MICE hub of India”.

“With the increase in conferences & summits in Kerala, the tourism and related sectors will see tremendous growth in both revenues and economic activities which will propel all round growth of god’s own country”, he added.

The spacious urban, waterfront luxury project is set on 26 acres of landscaped grounds in an extraordinary location on the Bolgatty Island, Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty will feature an array of Suites, rooms, luxury villas to suit the taste & demands of discerning travellers & tourists to God’s own country.

For guests looking to explore the local community, Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty will provide a selection of extraordinary activities and locally inspired experiences, such as a guided tour of nearby Bolgatty Palace or a boat ride from the island’s jetty to Fort Kochi. With Kerala Tourism promoting the destination to the GCC with its ‘Yalla Kerala Campaign’, the state is gearing up for an increase in international arrivals this season.

Designed by architects from Wimberly Allison Tong and Coo UK Ltd (WATG), Lulu Bolgatty International Convention Center & Grand Hyatt Kochi is located near the historic and picturesque town of Fort Kochi and is fully surrounded by back waters with a magnificent view of the Arabian Sea.

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EM Najeeb, M.D, A.T.E. has been elected as the Senior Vice President at the IATO elections


EM Najeeb, Managing Director, Air Travel Enterprises has been elected as the Senior Vice President at the IATO elections. Another new entrant in the core committee of IATO is Rajesh Mudgill, Managing Director, Planet India Travel, who has been elected as the Honorary Secretary. Thanking everyone for the victory, Najeeb said, “It’s a great honor and pleasure for me to have been elected as the senior VP of a prestigious association such as IATO. I want to assure my wholehearted commitment and support for serving this organization with my team members by work together to reach newer heights.”

Pronab Sarkar (President), Rajiv Mehra (Vice President), Rajesh Kayasth (Joint Secretary) and Ravi Gosain (Treasurer) were elected unopposed.

The new EC members (Active) are Raj Bajaj, Tony Marwah, PS Duggal, Deepak Bhushan, and Vinay Tyagi. Sunil Gupta, Zia Siddique, and Vijay Sarthi were elected from the Allied category.

Addressing the members after the results, Pronab Sarkar expressed the hope that the new members will bring new blood and new ideas into the association to take it into newer heights in coming two years.

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